There Goes the Bride by John Chapman and Ray Cooney is the Brown County Playhouse’s summer farce. The production directed by Burgun is assured. The set is one of the loveliest that I’ve seen there. The costumes are first rate and the cast is a strong one.
Abby Rowald was the Ursula, the mother of the bride. Ursula is first all competence and then shows her more human and flexible side. Sarah Fisher was Judy, the daughter. Judy spends much of the show being confronted with dilemmas and then racing off to one or another of the cast saying “there goes the bride” as she retreats in tears to her bedroom. IU Theatre regulars may remember them as the women competing for Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde’s The Ideal Husband.
Mathew Buffalo who played Lord Goring, here plays Timothy the father of the bride. At one time he may have been an ideal husband, but as the bride’s father he’s a failure. He’s been so distracted by his work on an ad campaign for a brassiere company that he’s really messed up all the details for the wedding. He’s not gotten a hotel room for the groom’s parents, not ordered flowers and the list goes on.
Mike Price was the engaging Bill Shorter, Tim’s business partner in the ad’ agency and a more or less helpful family friend.
In and out during the preparations are the very amusing Ken Farrell as the addle pated Dr. Drimmond the bride’s father and Nancy Lipshultz as the bride’s sometimes domineering mother Daphne Drimmond. A stiff collar button and an even stiffer corset occupy much of their comings and goings. Daphne on the telephone in one of the show’s tenser moments is a fifteen second wonder.
The groom’s family is represented by Kurt Zischke as Charles Babcock, a bit of a rough Australian. Babcock doesn’t appear until the second act, but he’s worked himself up to a full befuddled boil by then.
It seems as if there are plenty enough routine complications for a farce, but Chapman and Cooney take the show a couple of steps farther. Timothy, has a fall and his overworked brain conjures up the image of a flamboyant 20s flapper from his brassiere ad campaign… the slogan was “Perkins bras take the flop out of flappers.” The image that he conjures is played by Mandy Striph. Striph is right at home, just fresh from the singing and dancing of Brown County’s “All Night Strut.”
She and Buffalo make a charming pair and then in a later fall when Buffalo thinks that the two of them are auditioning to be the next Fred and Ginger, there’s some lovely dancing and even a trio with Dr. Drimmond imaginatively joining in.
There Goes the Bride at the Brown County Playhouse is just the sort of summer time farce to give us a laugh, a break from the summer’s heat and humidity and a few moments to think that no matter how difficult our lives may be, we’re so glad that we’re not mixed up with these two families.
The Brown County Playhouse production of There Goes the Bride plays Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees through August 2nd.
Listen to WFIU George Walker’s interview with the cast’s Nancy Lipschultz and Kurt Zischk.